Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

The monastery “Forty Martyrs of Sebaste” in Bansko is located right beside the road leading from the warm-spring bath in Banja Bansko to the centre of the village. The monastery embraced its first monks, soming from the Vodocha Monastery, on September 1st, 2001. Within the next two years new dorters were built and the small church was renewed. The church is dedicated to the two Saints Paraskevi: the Venerable one whose relics lie in Jashi (Romania) and the Virgin-Martyr Saint Paraskevi (of Rome).

At about fifteen minutes walking distance one can see the remains of the minsatery dedicated to the forty Martyrs of Sebaste. It was built as an Episcopal temple. The type and style of the building, the items found in the cemetery next to the church, and the fact that the worship of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste is depicted in the fresco paintings in the church St. Sophia in Ohrid and the Vodocha monastery dating back to the middle of the 11th century, all prove the connection of this church in Bansko to the Vodocha churches and the one in Strumica dedicated to the Fifteen Holy Hieromartyrs of Tiberiopolis. After moving into the renewed monastery, the small brotherhood initially started growing mushrooms and constructed a new icon-painting atelier in the quietest and most picturesque part of the complex. There is no church in the village of Bansko, so the residents feed their spiritual needs in the monastery, and children play around the drinking fountain in the courtyard.

The monastery is actually one of a Scythian type. Not more than 4 monks in the brotherhood. They craft hand-made items: prayer ropes, small wooden crosses, and they mount icons as well.Since November 2004, the “Saint Theodosius of Sinai” printing house with a bookbinder’s has been actively working. The monastic brotherhood, which in its monastic struggle here has gained the printer's skill as well, has dedicated itself with attention and zeal to the daily process of making diaries, books, notebooks, calendars, brochures, catalogues, and numerous other office materials, which assist the monastery economy, and whose contribution for its part represents a valuable input in the publishing activity of the diocese. The first book printed in the Bansko monastery printing house was Škola za Isihazam (A School of Hesychasm) Book 1 by Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica, an edition of the Veljusa monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos Eleusa.